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CAPTAIN Jack Harkness IS Torchwood. Without him it’s unlikely the show would have ever been commissioned, let alone run to four seasons and various spin-offs in other media. But for all his appearances in that series and its parent show Doctor Who, we have never really been treated to a Jack-solo story, let alone one on another planet…

The events of Miracle Day have taken their toll on Harkness, and he decides to take some time off on Cotter Paluni’s World, which cut off from the rest of the universe by lethal scarlet lightning. But for reasons which are initially unclear, the pale-skinned population of this world hold the Torchwood organisation in such high regard that it is bordering on the religious, a mystery which naturally inspires Jack to investigate further…

It’s almost inaccurate to call this a Torchwood story, as it’s actually more of a Captain Jack tale which just happens to reference his time with the organisation, spanning his relationships with the likes of Suzy Costello, Ianto and Gwen through to the tragedy of New Year’s Eve 1999, and offering an insight into the character which goes beyond the innuendo and bluster of his on-screen appearances to explore a deeper side to his personality.

With John Barrowman obviously busy elsewhere, AudioGo have taken the unusual decision of choosing a reader with no connection to the worlds of Torchwood or Who, but whose vocal talents prove more than adequate for the task of capturing Jack Harkness on audio.

This is exactly the sort of story we want to see more of, a narrative which adds depth and weight to events and characters we have seen on screen, without feeling like a placeholder before the next TV series gets underway. For perhaps the first time in his history, we are given a proper chance to see what makes Captain Jack tick, away from the familiarity of Cardiff or the TARDIS, and as such this story succeeds in transforming the character from merely a flirting anachronism in a WWII great coat into someone we can really understand and relate to.

A remarkable achievement, and without doubt one of the best Torchwood spin-offs in any format. More like this please!

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